Robert Plant Calls Led Zeppelin ‘A Room Full Of Giants’

Flashback: Led Zeppelin Releases ‘presence’
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Robert Plant chatted with Rolling Stone about his past, present, and future — including his current road dates with Alison Krauss. When pressed about when he realized he had finally “made it,” the Led Zeppelin icon explained, “It was when I went to the first rehearsal with the Yardbirds, and I was 19, soon to be 20. I had suggested to Jimmy Page that the drummer that he’d lined up was just nowhere near the dynamism of John Bonham (who) was a totally different thing altogether. . . When the two of us drove down to London in John’s mum’s van, which we borrowed, in that room, on that afternoon, when we kicked in with a bunch of songs that nobody really knew, ‘Train Kept A-Rollin,” I knew that I was in a room full of giants, really, and that was it.”

Plant went on to recall, “By 1973, what happened in that one room had exploded into some of the most adventurous non-rock rock that you could ever wish to find, and it was just the sum of the parts. Those guys were just insanely good. And it was as if everybody had just been waiting for each other with whatever happened prior to that. It was just like, bang!”

He went on to talk about not only the force of Led Zeppelin — but his own particular talents at the time: “There was a panic of responsibility in the ’70s, believe it or not. There was nowhere to hide at all in a four-piece band, and so there were great days and there were days that weren’t so good, and I would have to push through. Our itineraries were pretty demanding, and sometimes it really would take it out of my voice. A lot of what I was singing was really at the top of my capacity, right at the sharp end of what I could ever possibly do with the keys that we were playing music in.”

Regarding his penchant for following his own muse since John Bonham’s death, Robert Plant revealed, “By 1980, that whole idea was long over and gone. From then on, I made a lot of departures, and I have no embarrassment about them. They were all rather silly adventures, but they kept me thinking, or just falling upon melody. Today, I’m three days off playing at the biggest festival in Europe (Glastonbury), and I’m going be pretty melodic.”

Robert Plant explained that looking beyond the Western world for inspiration made all the difference in Led Zeppelin’s music: “Well, I think we always changed the musical attitudes with every record that we made, therefore, out gave us a bit of a hike to have some continuity over a period of time. Because, we didn’t play the same music for nine albums. We were constantly experimenting, and Jimmy (Page) and I traveled through India and Morocco, and Jimmy spent time in Egypt, and his reflections came out in the music. So, I guess we were fortunate because our travels really influenced the way that we wrote.”

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